Saturday, August 25, 2012

In the Art Room: Jes in Paris!

La Tour Eiffel: The Eiffel Tower has got to be the most iconic symbol for Paris and France. Named after the engineer who designed and built the tower, Gustave Eiffel, The Iron Lady was the tallest structure in the world until 1930. That's when our Chrysler Building overshadowed her. The tower was built in 1889 for the entrance of the World's Fair. Do we still have those?
Well, would you look at who is in Paris, France! That's right, our school mascot Jes. In case you aren't in the loop, I created this little stuffed dude to take on my trip to Europe this summer. I snapped photos of him in Germany and the Netherlands with the intent of sharing his adventures with my students in art class. You know, like the concept of Flat Stanley. Only cuter. 

My students are currently creating passports in art class and packing their suitcases (which entails the kids writing an item on a  Post-It and sticking in our paper suitcase. Best one so far? "My family")  Our first stop? Well, if you've seen my art room, you know it's the City of Love.

In preparation for our adventures, I've been doing my homework. So I thought I'd share a little history behind each Parisian monument. I also rediscovered the art of my Favorite-Artists-at-the-Moment: Brothers Jean and Raoul Dufy.

Special thanks to Sophie who traveled with Jes and snapped all of these marvelous photos. And to Sandy, the wonderful parent that put me in touch with Sophie. Merci beaucoup!
 Raoul Dufy was the older and more famous of the two artist brothers. Raoul said:“What I wish to show when I paint is the way I see things with my eyes and in my heart.”  La Tour Eiffel, 1935
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris or Sacré-Cœur Basilica. This Roman Catholic church sits high on hill of Montmartre, a popular artsy district. Because of it's height, it can often be found in the background of paintings of Paris. In fact, I included it in my own Parisian landscape
L’église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre et le Sacré-Coeur, 1953, Jean Dufy. Both brothers were considered Fauvist painters. The Fauves, which included artists like Henri Matisse, where given their name by an unflattering critic that found their colorful style akin to that of a Wild Beast. These painters loved the term and it is now associated with their bright works.
Notre Dame de Paris translates Our Lady of Paris. This Roman Catholic cathedral suffered some damage during the French Revolution (gah, I just spent entirely too much time reading about that revolution, fascinating!). Thankfully it has been restored and it's one of the best examples of Gothic architecture.
You know those people that take great ideas and totally claim it as their own? Well, you do now. Meet Pablo Picasso. What a guy. Did he ever have a single original thought? Here is he doing is best Dufy brothers impression. Notre Dame de Paris, 1954
Statue Equestre d'Henri IV, Pont Neuf, Paris. Henri IV was one of the most popular of the French kings whose reign lasted from 1589 to 1610. Equestrian statues are quite popular everywhere. I've heard that “when one of the horse’s hooves is raised it indicates that the rider was wounded in battle, when both of the horse’s hooves are up it indicates that the rider was killed in battle and when all four hooves are on the ground, none of the above.” I'll have to do some digging to find out if this is true of Henri IV.
Raoul Dufy's La Vert Galant, 1926
Jes at L'Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile. Designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, this monument honors those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
So it turns out Raoul Dufy was also a textile designer. I can see that. And I see a pin board on his textile designs in my future. I absolutely love this chair, L'Arc de Triomphe, 1933
I know there are some serious mixed reviews of I.M. Pei's pyramid outside the Louvre, but I love it. I.M. Pei also designed the art museum at Indiana University (the best college on the planet...not that I'm biased or anything), so I have a soft spot.
Spring in Paris poster by Raoul Dufy. I was really hoping I'd come upon one of these on my garage and thrifting adventures. No dice.
Don't you just love this sweet photo Sophie captured? She did such an amazing job taking Jes around...I can't thank her enough! Not to mention how excited the kids are to see the photos and hear about his adventuring.
So while Jes is off galavanting around Paris, I'll just sit here and dream. About the sights, the sounds and what I'd wear. This adorable Dufy-inspired number outta do the trick. You can see it and more vintage goodness here, you like.
I hope you enjoyed this little history lesson. Putting this post together helped me learn so much more about Paris. Jes will next be traveling to sweet Katie over at The Little Red Squirrel in the UK! How exciting, thank you, Katie! From there, I'd love for him to travel to Italy...but I have no connections. If you happen to have a contact, I'd love to send Jes that way. Thank you!


  1. When would Jes be available for Italy? I may have a connection.

    1. Hi! He's should to be in the mail to England very soon...and will probably be there for a week or so. He could be mailed directly to Italy from the UK if your connection is up for it :) That would be wonderful! ...Cassie

  2. Nice pics! I love Paris, too! Which places did you go to in the Netherlands? That's where I live!

    1. Hi Liz! I need to post the photos of him in the Netherlands, we had so much fun! We went to Alkmaar, Harlem and Amsterdam. Once we escaped the tourist areas of Amsterdam, we found the best vintage shops...and pizza! Thank you for reading from the Netherlands :) ...Cassie

  3. Love the idea of sending Jes around the world. But I sit in a small town of 60 000 inhabitants in Germany so I don't know if you want him to come here. I'm in love with the Dufy-inspired dress in green. Wonderful!!!

    1. Well, we was in towns that were pretty small! We stayed in Neustadt an der Aisch and went around to Rothenburg, Bamberg and Nuremburg (which is not small by any means!). Love Germany, so pretty!

  4. Anonymous8/26/2012

    I stumbled upon your blog the other day from somewhere (had to have been a vintage related blog) and immediately was taken by the Paris background in your class. Just now see that you actually painted it & on a is fantastic! The light behind really makes it alive. Are you sure you want to change it out for next year? lol.
    I studied Art History once upon a time. My favorite artists are Matisse & Dufy...I love the colors & child-like art (and, children's art is the best). What's sad is that our public schools don't have art classes, nor music. They throw in bits here & there, but no actual class.

  5. That is blows my mind that California of all places doesn't have art in the schools! Guess that means I can only vacation there and never move, I'd be jobless ;) Thank you so much for your kind words. The window was a lot of work...and I would be tempted to leave it up but over the course of the school year it fades. Not to mention the kids would be quite bummed if they walked in the following year and we were still in Paris ;) Thanks for reading! ... Cassie

  6. Florent9/11/2015

    I love the Dufy poster "Printemps". I found this blog looking for informations about it.
    I saw a copy to sold on :
    Do you have any idea if it's a good price ?


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